Priority 0 and The Purpose of Your Life

For those of us that live in relative ease with all of our base needs met every day, the highest challenge, according to maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is to achieve self-actualization.

We want meaning. We want purpose. We want to feel like we are making a difference on the world.

As a religious person, I believe that each person on earth has a specific mission to fill. It’s not necessarily about being famous or having a large- in the typical sense of the word – impact though.

Perhaps your life’s mission is to be the mother or father of the person whose mission it is to change the world in a more grandiose way.

Both roles are important – one just happens to be more recognized and applauded.

Recently I re-read Clayton M. Christensen’s book “How Will You Measure Your Life” (An amazing read I highly recommend to anyone by the way). In it, he talks about a three step process to achieving what you want in life:

  1. Define a “Likeness” – a version of your future self that is clearly laid out
  2. Commit to that likeness – find a way to become committed enough to what you want to be that your daily actions reflect it
  3. Define a Metric to somehow measure (hence the name of the book) if you are achieving your mission.

What really intrigued me about the book was Christensen’s method of committing to his likeness. And the fact that he said this was the hardest part.

But it makes sense; anyone can say they want to be nice, but it takes real commitment to be nice under all circumstances. Same for amassing wealth – anyone can say they want to be wealthy, but few take the daily actions to increase income and decrease expenditures.

The way Christensen committed to his likeness was by spending the hours from 11pm-12am every day for a year reading scripture, thinking about the scripture, praying to know if it was true, and praying to know if the likeness he had sketched for himself was the right one.

He would read a chapter, then think about it, then pray about it, and carry a dialogue with God about it and his likeness.

For an entire year he did this. Every day.

It was this amount of thought and time and witness from God that allowed him to gain the conviction necessary to commit fully to his likeness.


My favorite part about this is how much effort it takes. In a world of quick fixes and short term motivation over long term discipline, this practice rings through the ages like sage wisdom from before our hyper-connected era.

So anyways.

I’ve been doing this as well for about a month. There are a myriad of benefits, but what I’ve discovered is that there are a few things that must be done every day (for me personally) in order for my likeness to be achieved.

I call these my priority 0, or my 0-level priorities.

After a lot of thought (probably about 24 hours combined) this is the conclusion I’ve come to. These are my 0-level priorities:

  1. Meaningful Prayer
  2. Meaningful Time in the Scriptures
  3. Journaling/Pondering
  4. Planning Tomorrow Today
  5. Eating a Clean, Low-Inflammation Diet.

These 5 things are priority 0. More important than sleep (although that would be number 6, I’m considering adding it to the list), more important than enjoying myself, more important than work, more important than anything else.

Why is that?

It’s because without them, everything else falls apart.

But more importantly, if I can just get these 5 things done every day, it’s impossible not to achieve my life’s mission.

So here’s a question for you.

What’s your life’s mission?

If you don’t know, the best way I know how is to follow Clayton M. Christensen’s advice. Make it your own, but don’t try to skirt the time investment. You’ve got to put in the time.

During this process I encourage you to find your priority 0.

What 1-5 things, if done daily, will make it nearly impossible for you not to achieve your life’s mission?

Even if you don’t know what that mission is yet, I promise that committing to these things will revolutionize your life.



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